Asgorath (pronounced: /ˈɑːzgɔːrɑːθAZ-gore-ath[1]) was the dragon deity of creation.[3] He (or she, as some traditions suggested[6][note 4]) was regarded as the creator of the multiverse[7] and of dragonkind, and he manipulated the destinies of all dragons by operating in a way that nobody suspected his involvement.[2] Asgorath was supposed to encompass all alignments, but was often regarded as neutral. In the Outer Planes, he was more commonly known as Io.[3] His holy symbol, an unadorned circle, represented totality.[1]

Some sages believed that Asgorath was an aspect of the World Serpent concept,[8] while others thought Asgorath was actually a primordial that had ascended to godhood after the Tearfall.[9][note 5]

Description[edit | edit source]

Asgorath never manifested himself before his worshipers. However, he made his existence felt as a powerful presence in their minds.[1]

Asgorath, however, could manifest physically if he wanted to, taking on the form of any dragon, and even in forms of other draconic creatures, such as pseudodragons.[10] The oldest myths of dragonkind claimed that Asgorath manifested physically only once, during the act of creating the multiverse.[1] Those who believed in this myth believed Asgorath was so huge, that even his scales were larger than the largest mortal dragon that ever existed.[7]

Realm[edit | edit source]

Asgorath's home plane was unknown.[1] He was known to roam across the Outer Planes.[3][note 3]

Worshipers[edit | edit source]

Asgorath was revered by dragons of all kinds.[1] He was also worshiped by some half-dragons, kobolds, lizardfolk, troglodytes, humans,[2] and even a few dragonborn.[11]

Asgorath had no enemies among the other gods, because of his neutral point of view. Even those of opposing alignments could find common cause under the banner of the World Shaper.[2]

Clergy[edit | edit source]

Asgorath had fewer clerics than most draconic deities, though even the most devout cleric of other dragon gods (and many of Kurtulmak[12]) gave him some homage. Clerics of Asgorath had no hierarchy or fixed dogma; each interpreted the World Shaper differently, worshiping him in one of his many aspects. Red dragons worshiped him as an evil being, while gold dragons revered him as a paragon of good. Those who would become Asgorath's clerics sought to rid themselves of all such biases, though some never succeeded.[2]

Half-dragons who chose to become clerics of Asgorath were usually ascetic priests,[2] while kobolds who worshiped Asgorath sought out to challenge their own racial preconceptions, seeking to judge members of other races, even their hated foes, with objectivity.[12]

Temples[edit | edit source]

Asgorath had few temples. Shrines built in Asgorath's honor usually took the form of open-air constructions surrounded by pillars and topped with domes. These shrines were placed in open terrain—the middle of a desert, the center of a valley, atop the peak of a mountain, or on a vast, treeless plain.[2]

Dogma[edit | edit source]

Asgorath cared only for dragons and other draconic creatures, and their continued existence in the world. That means Asgorath could take the side of the dragons if they were threatened by other races, but also that Asgorath could help the non-draconic races to put down dragons who jeopardized the survivability of the race as a whole.[2]

While Asgorath preferred to remain neutral in the conflicts between dragons, if such conflict threatened to escalate, he acted without hesitation to stop it, usually sending a servitor but in rare occasions intervening personally.[2]

Rites[edit | edit source]

Asgorath's rituals involved the blending of many things in a whole, reflecting Asgorath's own nature. One common ritual involved drinking wine with a drop of blood from each participant dissolved in it. [2]

Prayers to Asgorath were deep and resonating, taking the form of supplication or (for half-dragons) plaintive questions. Although Asgorath never answered prayers, he always listened to them.[2]

Myths and legends[edit | edit source]

Asgorath battling Erek-Hus

In draconic mythology, Asgorath created the multiverse itself, although his role in the creation was mysterious and couldn't be understood by mortal minds. According to those myths, Asgorath existed before the multiverse, in a place called "the first void", that was different from the "shadow void" from which the multiverse arose after Asgorath willingly shed his blood to give the potential to exist to all creation.[7]

According to the mysterious creation text, the Book of the World, Asgorath cast down the god Zotha and observed the two elements of existence: the world that she had made and the Crystal Sun that Zotha had made. She wrapped herself around the Crystal Sun and breathed on it. This caused the sun to shatter with fragments that pierced her flesh and killed her. Drops of her blood fell down upon the world and where they landed, red dragons were brought into existence. The new creatures lamented the loss of their creator, all except one, who pulled a fragment of the Crystal Sun out of Asgorath and cut himself with it. The blood fell to the earth and also created life, though this life was metallic in color, rather than red. Asgorath began to stir so the "Renegade" and his progeny fled to the farthest corners of the world.[6]

Analysis by the scribes of Candlekeep of this text reached the conclusion that this was the red dragons creation myth, and that the Asgorath depicted on it was in fact Tiamat, while the Renegade was Bahamut; many counter-theories existed, however, and no hard evidence was available to prove anything.[13]

Common dragon myths hold that Asgorath was able to predict the future, knew every known spell in existence, and owned at least one of every magic item that ever existed in any world.[7] There was even a myth that claimed Asgorath was the one who created the Lady of Pain by hatching her from a dabus egg.[14]

Dragonborn of Abeir also had myths about Asgorath, though they knew him by the name of Io. The few dragonborn that believed in gods, believed that Io was the one who created them, though there were many conflicting traditions on how the event happened. Some stories tell that Io created the dragonborn at the same time he created the dragons, establishing a natural order: dragonborn were created to serve dragons. Other stories said that Io created the dragonborn before the dragons or any other humanoid race existed, as the pinnacle of perfection the other gods used as inspiration to create the humanoid races, pale imitations of dragonborn. There was even one story that tell dragonborn weren't created by Io, but instead were born of his blood when Io was killed in the Dawn War by a primordial named Erek-Hus.[11]

Asgorath was also prominent in kobold traditions. According to their old myths, after Asgorath discovered Darastrixhurthi was destroyed, he sought to compensate the kobold race for what happened, even when the dragons who destroyed Darastrixhurti were innocent victims of the Rage of Dragons.[15] He asked Kurtulmak if he wanted to recuperate its fortress or transform into a permanent champion for his race. Kurtulmak chose the latter and Asgorath elevated him to godhood.[16] He also elevated Kuraulyek to godhood as way to protect the first urds from the mad dragons and the rage of Kurtulmak.[15]

History[edit | edit source]

In the final period of the Days of Thunder, Asgorath was released from her imprisonment, along with the rest of her kin, by the Batrachi. Asgorath would prove to be the downfall of her liberator's entire civilization when she hurled an ice moon down to the surface of Abeir-Toril in an event known as the Tearfall, wiping out the Batrachi and creating the Sea of Fallen Stars.[17][18][19] It was this action that finally spurred Ao to clone the planet, giving the original world, Toril, to the gods, and the new one, Abeir, to the primordials.[20] The Tearfall also coincided with the hatching of a multitude of dragon eggs, giving rise to the belief that Asgorath was the creator of their race.[18]

The debate over Asgorath's alignment and nature was responsible for the most far-reaching of the Draco Holy Wars. Every species of dragon and other dragonblooded creatures was certain that Asgorath represented the pinnacle of their particular race. While silver dragons could grudgingly accept the gold dragons' insistence that Asgorath was a lawful good gold dragon, neither could tolerate the red dragons' claim that Asgorath was a chaotic evil red. At one time the resulting wars threatened the entire dragon race with extinction. Perhaps it was the subtle influence of Zorquan, god of dragonkind, but eventually most dragons turned away from the war and from religion in general. It was only after the last Rage of Dragons, that dragons drifted back into religious observance.[21][22]

Appendix[edit | edit source]

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Although Io is listed in non-Realms products as an intermediate deity, Asgorath is listed in specific Realms products as a greater deity.
  2. Cult of the Dragon states that Asgorath was regarded as Neutral, but in fact he encompassed all alignments. Draconomicon states that Asgorath alignment is unknown.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Draconomicon and On Hallowed Ground state that Asgorath/Io's home plane is unknown. Cult of the Dragon states that he is a power of the Outer Planes, but his domain is unkown. The 3rd edition Core source Races of the Dragon places him in the Outlands. Asgorath does not appear in the World Tree cosmology.
  4. At least two sources list Asgorath as female. However, as most of the sources list Asgorath as a male, for organization purposes the article will refer to him as a male unless the information is from one of the sources that list Asgorath as a female.
  5. Although the Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide list this primordial as "Asgoroth", this seems to be a typo, as the roll of primordials in Heroes of the Elemental Chaos list him as Asgorath.

External Links[edit | edit source]

  • Io article at the Eberron Wiki, a wiki for the Eberron campaign setting.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Nigel Findley, et al. (October 1990). Draconomicon. (TSR, Inc), p. 25. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  2. 2.00 2.01 2.02 2.03 2.04 2.05 2.06 2.07 2.08 2.09 2.10 2.11 2.12 2.13 2.14 2.15 Gwendolyn F.M. Kestrel, Jennifer Clarke Wilkes, Kolja Raven Liquette (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 155–156. ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Dale Donovan (January 1998). Cult of the Dragon. (TSR, Inc), p. 120. ISBN 0-7869-0709-6.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Carl Sargent (May 1992). Monster Mythology. (TSR, Inc), p. 104. ISBN 1-5607-6362-0.
  5. Richard Baker, Robert J. Schwalb (February, 2012). Heroes of the Elemental Chaos. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 32–33. ISBN 78-0-7869-5981-5.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Nigel Findley, et al. (October 1990). Draconomicon. (TSR, Inc), p. 2. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 Carl Sargent (May 1992). Monster Mythology. (TSR, Inc), p. 104. ISBN 1-5607-6362-0.
  8. Carl Sargent (May 1992). Monster Mythology. (TSR, Inc), p. 97. ISBN 1-5607-6362-0.
  9. Richard Baker, Robert J. Schwalb (February, 2012). Heroes of the Elemental Chaos. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 32. ISBN 78-0-7869-5981-5.
  10. Andy Collins, James Wyatt, and Skip Williams (November 2003). Draconomicon: The Book of Dragons. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 34. ISBN 0-7869-2884-0.
  11. 11.0 11.1  ed. (2015). Sword Coast Adventurer's Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 112–113. ISBN 978-0786965809.
  12. 12.0 12.1  (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 142. ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
  13.  (October 1990). Draconomicon. (TSR, Inc), pp. 2–3. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  14.  (September 2007). “Unsolved Mysteries of D&D”. In  ed. Dragon #359 (Paizo Publishing, LLC), p. 31.
  15. 15.0 15.1  (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 9. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  16.  (2006). Races of the Dragon. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 50–51. ISBN 0-7869-3913-3.
  17.  (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 41. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  18. 18.0 18.1  (September, 2007). The Grand History of the Realms. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7869-4731-7.
  19.  (October 1990). Draconomicon. (TSR, Inc), p. 4. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  20.  (August 2008). Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 41–43. ISBN 978-0-7869-4924-3.
  21.  (October 1990). Draconomicon. (TSR, Inc), pp. 29–30. ISBN 0-8803-8876-5.
  22.  (August 2006). Dragons of Faerûn. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 7. ISBN 0-7869-3923-0.

Connections[edit | edit source]

The Draconic Pantheon
Greater Deities
Intermediate Deities
KereskaNathair SgiathachZorquan
Lesser Deities
Dead powers

Deities of the Post–Second Sundering Era
Ao the Overgod
Faerûnian Pantheon
Akadi | Amaunator | Asmodeus | Auril | Azuth | Bane | Beshaba | Bhaal | Chauntea | Cyric | Deneir | Eldath | Gond | Grumbar | Gwaeron | Helm | Hoar | Ilmater | Istishia | Jergal | Kelemvor | Kossuth | Lathander | Leira | Lliira | Loviatar | Malar | Mask | Mielikki | Milil | Myrkul | Mystra | Oghma | Red Knight | Savras | Selûne | Shar | Silvanus | Sune | Talona | Talos | Tempus | Torm | Tymora | Tyr | Umberlee | Valkur | Waukeen
The Morndinsamman
Abbathor | Berronar Truesilver | Clangeddin Silverbeard | Deep Duerra | Dugmaren Brightmantle | Dumathoin | Gorm Gulthyn | Haela Brightaxe | Laduguer | Marthammor Duin | Moradin | Sharindlar | Vergadain
The Seldarine
Aerdrie Faenya | Angharradh | Corellon | Deep Sashelas | Erevan | Fenmarel Mestarine | Hanali Celanil | Labelas Enoreth | Rillifane Rallathil | Sehanine Moonbow | Shevarash | Solonor Thelandira
The Dark Seldarine
Eilistraee | Kiaransalee | Lolth | Selvetarm | Vhaeraun
Yondalla's Children
Arvoreen | Brandobaris | Cyrrollalee | Sheela Peryroyl | Urogalan | Yondalla
Lords of the Golden Hills
Baervan Wildwanderer | Baravar Cloakshadow | Callarduran Smoothhands | Flandal Steelskin | Gaerdal Ironhand | Garl Glittergold | Nebelun | Segojan Earthcaller | Urdlen
Orc Pantheon
Bahgtru | Gruumsh | Ilneval | Luthic | Shargaas | Yurtrus
Mulhorandi pantheon
Anhur | Bast | Geb | Hathor | Horus | Isis | Nephthys | Osiris | Re | Sebek | Set | Thoth
Other gods of Faerûn
Bahamut | Enlil | Finder Wyvernspur | Ghaunadaur | Gilgeam | Lurue | Moander | Nobanion | Raven Queen | Tiamat

Elemental Lords of Toril
Miscellaneous Primordials
AchazarArambarAsgorathAtropusBoremBwimbCirotralechDendarDraunnDur-baagalEntropyErek-HusKarshimisKezefMaegeraMaramNehushtaPetronQueen of ChaosRornTelosUbtao
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